Friday, August 14, 2009
OK, now I get it: The incredulous looks on knowledgeable faces when I admitted I had never been to Alaska, despite the fact my sister had lived there for over a decade. I get it now. All of you - you were right, I was missing out.
It is perhaps the most beautiful place I've ever been.
The kids were in heaven. It is perhaps a kid-vacation paradise. Tide pools, hiking, fishing, kayaking, mud, mud and more mud.
It made me realize just how sterilized our Lower-48 outdoor play space has become. We are a family who spends a lot of time outdoors - we bike, walk, run, swim, you name it. But much of our outdoor time is spent in a yard or at a park or a beach or on a well-traveled trail. Even canoeing on the lake involves maneuvering around motorboats.
In Alaska, there are vast expanses of wilderness. Here in Wisconsin, I've noticed that kids create their own wild spaces. They all congregate around the largest, farthest, most hidden tree at the park, and build forts and find sticks and rocks and cool leaves. Kids need wilderness. (exhibit A: Michael Chabon's article)
How does one bring more wilderness into an urban/suburban life?
As for us, we are already planning our next trip to Alaska.